Wanting to Support Business Growth with All for One Hiring: The Next Goal of the Mid-Career Hiring Team

Mercari’s business and organization continue to change day by day. Adapting to such rapid changes is only possible thanks to the people that make up Mercari.

In this article, we focus on the Marketplace Mid-Career Talent Acquisition Team, which is in charge of recruiting activities to bring in more mid-career talent who can support the Mercari service. We asked team manager Maho Hashimoto (@mahoh) and team members Nicolas Angelone (@AngelOne), Gerard Noakes (@Gerard), and Keziah Aguila (@Keziah) why Mercari places such importance on recruitment and what makes Mercari’s hiring teams unique.

Featured in this article

  • Maho Hashimoto

    Joined Mercari in November 2018. After working as a recruiter for Corporate, Engineering, and some product positions, she has also been manager of the engineer and product mid-career hiring team since April 2021.

  • Nicolas Angelone

    Joined Mercari in April 2021, with 8 years of experience in tech recruitment. He is mostly in charge of hiring insights to perfect data-driven hiring, and also handles hiring for some software engineering roles. He is originally from the US, and he speaks both English and Japanese. He has also held a wide variety of events about D&I topics like D&I hiring and inclusive practices.

  • Gerard Noakes

    Came to Mercari in June 2023. A father, husband, brother, son, and part-time DJ, he has been in Japan for 11 years and recruiting in tech for 7 years, building teams of software engineers, leaders, and more. Originally from the UK, he handles a range of positions at Mercari, including engineering leadership, platform engineering, and architecture positions.

  • Keziah Aguila

    Joined Mercari in July 2023. She has nine years of recruitment experience with a specialty in UX and Product hiring. UX Design positions are her main responsibility in Mercari. She is originally from Ireland, but has expertise in APAC recruitment.

Committing to the growth of a rapidly changing business and organization

──Allow me to first ask you about the mid-career hiring team. Mercari always has mid-career positions open. What are some of the challenges you are facing as the responsible team?

@mahoh: Recently Mercari has been expanding into new fields and businesses, which has increased the number of people we’re looking to hire across the company. Our goal is to contribute to the growth of the business through recruitment. This makes it a given that at times when the business or the organization goes through changes, hiring becomes more important.

Mercari has adopted the direct sourcing method, where the company runs its own recruitment activities. As we are responsible for almost all of the hiring process, we are expected to perform a wide variety of tasks and demonstrate higher commitment.

Maho Hashimoto (@mahoh)

A team that emphasizes autonomy and flexibility

──What do you think is unique about Mercari’s mid-career hiring team?

@AngelOne: In one word, autonomy. When we are about to take on anything new, we can swiftly put the logic together and propose it ourselves. It is not very common to freely be able to take on challenges with autonomy, so I think this is one of the unique aspects of Mercari’s mid-career hiring team.

I also think it is unique that we have a flat team structure. What the team will tackle is determined by the direction of the business and the organization, but how the team will tackle it is up to the team. We are not managed with a top-down hierarchy. Team members are able to have open dialogue at all times to find the best practice and change the team structure flexibly as needed.

Nicolas Angelone(@AngelOne)

@Gerard: I find the deep relationship between the mid-career hiring team and other HR teams to be unique. It has been only a month since I joined the company (at the time of the interview), but I have already observed the trust between different teams regarding each other’s expertise as they take charge of their own areas when promoting common initiatives. It demonstrates Trust and Openness, which is one of our foundations (a set of foundational values essential to realizing the company’s mission).

@AngelOne: Mercari’s value of Go Bold is also strongly reflected in the team’s culture.

When you run a new strategy, you can’t always get visible results. Even if the strategy fails, we can continue on to new challenges through trial and error and implement what we learned from failure.

@mahoh: The whole company has a culture of not being afraid of failure. Before the pandemic, we used to fly out to Taiwan and Berlin to run recruitment activities, which was also proposed by the mid-career hiring team. The fact that hiring teams can put together plans and budget proposals and see them through to execution is part of the appeal of working in recruitment for Mercari.

@Keziah: What I find unique about what we do here is that the company encourages us to widen our perspectives and proactively take on new challenges. I feel that it is important to voice what you think can be done to achieve objectives instead of waiting for orders.

@mahoh: The role of hiring teams in Mercari does not begin and end with the operational work for hiring. We are expected to think on our own to improve strategies and take actions flexibly, which is what gives our team its originality. It is also the mindset I prefer having in my approach to recruitment.

Members of diverse backgrounds and a culture of helping each other naturally

──All four of you come from different countries: Japan, the US, the UK, and Ireland. It’s quite the diverse team.

@Gerard: I agree with that sentiment. Currently we have nine members in the Marketplace Mid-Career Talent Acquisition Team and a total of seven different nationalities. Non-Japanese members make up around half of the entire Mercari organization, and over 60% of the engineering organization. Candidates are very surprised when we tell them that.

@AngelOne: We don’t filter candidates by whether they live in Japan or not; we approach all who we think will fit Mercari’s culture. There are so many candidates overseas who have the right skills and experience. It doesn’t matter where they are from or what nationality they have, as long as they are willing to work with us to achieve our mission.

@Gerard: I think some of our candidates from overseas have the impression that Mercari is a “traditional Japanese company,” which is not the case at all. There is no strict hierarchy here; it is a flat organization. I think we are setting an example that all Japanese companies should follow.
Gerard Noakes(@Gerard)

──Having so many people of varying backgrounds in the same organization may lead to challenges in language and communication. Can you talk about the concept of Yasashii Communication promoted by Mercari?

@mahoh: Sure. It is all about supporting each other in understanding one another, whether it may be in English or Japanese. This very interview is in both of these languages, right? Whenever someone has difficulty coming up with the right word, we jump in to support them. I think it is more important to make sure that your message is received by the other person rather than speaking with perfect grammar.

@AngelOne: It’s great to have people with different native tongues teach each other their languages. At the end of the hiring process, we have “team matching” sessions where candidates get to spend time with the teams they are slated to join. Some candidates have said they prefer working in environments where their native language is not spoken, so that they can improve upon their language skills. For members who relocated to Japan to work here, working with native speakers of Japanese is a learning opportunity. The culture of teaching each other also supports that.

@Keziah: Before Mercari, I had only worked in non-Japanese companies since I moved to Japan. I only used English in my work then, which made me a little unsure of whether I should join Mercari initially. I had been using the service since before joining, but because the service is entirely in Japanese, I had a strong impression that Mercari was absolutely a “Japanese” company.

But once I finally joined, I found the atmosphere to be much more international than I imagined. All announcements and meetings that are meant for all employees are always in both languages, English and Japanese. It was not what I expected, in a good way.

@Gerard: I was actually very nervous during my own interview. (laughs) I looked up how interviews are conducted in the “Japanese” business world, and asked a Japanese-native friend to rehearse with me! Once the real interview happened, though, it did not have an overly formal mood. It was very comforting. I also felt that the practice of Yasashii Communication was reflected in the entire hiring process.

@mahoh: People may feel nervous speaking in a language that is not their native tongue. Maybe it is a small aspect of communication, but I think that especially during times when the other party is not fully at ease, little gestures like nodding or agreeing can show them they they are being listened to, and give them comfort. This is part of our Yasashii culture. You don’t have to speak perfect Japanese or English to work here, so I hope readers will feel free to apply for a position without worrying about language!

The reality of Mercari’s hiring team from the perspective of new members

──Gerard and Keziah, you joined Mercari in June and July of this year, respectively. Can you talk about your impressions and expectations of the company before you joined, and how they were met, or not met, after you started working?

@Gerard: I found it to be an environment where taking on challenges is encouraged more than I imagined. Before I joined the company, I thought the organization would be highly structured and every rule and process strictly defined. Turns out there are many points of improvement all over the place.

Comparing Mercari to my previous workplace, it surprised me to see how fast decisions are made here. Because my previous company was based overseas, every important decision had to be confirmed with the head office first. Mercari has international values in its culture but it is based in Japan, so decisions are made much more quickly.

@Keziah: My experience was similar to Gerard’s. Before I joined, I thought that my area of responsibility would be clearly defined and I would just do what I had to do. That was not the case at all. I can freely take on what I want to do and think that I should do.

I was also worried about language, but we help each other out with communication here, allowing me to have smooth communication with members who have native tongues other than English. A culture of open communication is deeply embedded in the company, making it easy to be aware of what other team members or teams are doing. It’s a great help.

Keziah Aguila(@Keziah)

@AngelOne: I am not a new member, but during my early days in the company I was surprised at how often the values came up in conversation with other members. It was a culture shock for me, in a good way, to see that the values are brought up in day-to-day work, rather than just in the hiring interview.

@Gerard: The value of All for One is definitely very important to recruitment activities. I feel that Mercari employees have a strong sense of striving to achieve team objectives rather than just fulfilling their own personal responsibilities.

@mahoh: The members of teams who are hiring are also quite involved in the process. Their cooperation embodies All for One, and it allows the hiring processes to proceed in a consistent and connected manner.

The future goals of the mid-career hiring team

──Now that you have new members and the team is continuing to change, what sort of team do you aim to be?

@mahoh: A more data-driven team. A new team was recently formed, called the Hiring Insight Team, whose purpose is to improve candidate experience by analyzing hiring data. Until now, it was up to recruiters to just do their best. Now, we can create a structure where data can be implemented to formulate improvement strategies, allowing for a more scalable team.

Members had voiced their opinions on the benefits of having a data-aware team, which led to the formation of this new team. We will continue to welcome new ideas to improve our team in the future!

@AngelOne: Consider the Mid-Career Talent Acquisition Team to be a car. I would love to add new parts and modifications to this car so that we can further increase the effectiveness of our recruitment activities. I’d like to make it a supercar! (laughs)

Of course our main priority is to support the business through hiring, but I also want to work on improving the team itself.

@Keziah: I would like to improve our existing processes and become a team that can flexibly adapt to an ever-growing and ever-expanding business.

@Gerard: My main area is engineer recruitment, so I would like to do my best to help create a truly global engineering organization. I want other teams in Mercari to be aware of the cool things we are doing for mid-career hiring, and us to contribute to the growth of the organization through hiring so that Mercari can be elevated to the next level.

@mahoh: As you can pick up from their comments, we have a lot of things we want/need to do in this team. (laughs) Some people think that Mercari has completed its metamorphosis as a company, but we actually have a long way to go, with many things to improve. It’s a little chaotic, but very fun!

The job description: Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist – Mercari

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